Actor Amitabh Bachchan Saturday called for preserving old Bengali films after inaugurating the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) where 171 feature films and 150 shorts and docus from 70 countries would be screened.
Shah Rukh Khan's upcoming film Zero's trailer was also screened at the inaugural programme after the Bollywood star, during his speech, lamented that his films were not selected in film festivals.
As the KIFF celebrates 100 years of Bengali cinema, 'Antony Firingee', the 1967 Bengali classic, was screened as the inaugural film of the eight-day festival.
Bachchan expressed happiness that the state government has entered into arrangement with the Film Heritage Foundation for training 60 resource personnel in the art of preservation and restoration at a workshop during the festival.
"If we don't take urgent steps in hundred years, very few Bengali films will be left to celebrate. We must save hundred Bengali films and this should be taken up on war footing. The film industry and public should come together and join this movement," the Big B said.
Observing that films are "collective dreams," Bachchan took the opportunity to salute from spot boys to every member of a team that creates a movie.
He said the KIFF was becoming more prestigious and global over the years and expressed happiness that this edition of the festival has named Australia as the focus country.
Tunisia is the special focus country at the 24th KIFF.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described Bengal as the cultural capital of the world and said "With minimum support, Bengali entertainment industry can conquer the world."
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan in a lighter vein said he is becoming smart and intellectual after frequent sojourns to this city.
Stating that he was waiting for the day, "when one of my films will get selected at a film festival," Shah Rukh said, "I want to seek Mamatadi's permission. I don't know if ever any of my film will deserve to be in a festival but here at KIFF I want to show the trailer of my next film Zero."
The trailer was then screened to loud cheers from the audience of the Netaji Indoor Stadium, the venue of the inaugural programme.
Film maker Mahesh Bhatt paid respect to the glorious film making tradition of Bengal and spoke about the diversity of India's culture and how that gets reflected in films.
Waheeda Rehman, who referred to her appearing with Soumitra Chatterjee in 'Abhijan' by Satyajit Ray in 1952, recalled how she was tutored by Ray and Chatterjee in between shots as she was not fluent in Bengali language.
Celebrated Iranian director Majid Majidi referred Kolkata as "Ray's city" and said he saluted the spirit of film makers and cine-lovers here.
Soumitra Chatterjee hailed the celebration of 100 years of Bengali cinema in this festival and said it will help the people to know about the recent trends in world cinema.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)